It is so important for writers to know and understand the market that they are in or about to enter. It is common sense and good business strategy to know your competition, your situation and the climate of the industry. So lets pull it apart a little and have a look at the cycle of sales and some dependable trends.
Why do people buy books
Why do people keep buying books? Despite the many times you’ve heard that the publishing business is dead, it just doesn’t seem to lay down and die.
People don’t need to buy new books, they can get books for free or very cheaply second hand. Instead of buying an book people can borrow them from libraries, download them from torrent sites, or they can steal them from a friend. Secondhand book stores a full of 50 cent bargains market stalls always have great books. In a question posted on Quora about why people continue to buy books, the responses were interesting but certainly not surprising.
Firstly, people keep buying books because they love them. They buy books to have them and to hold them. They buy books to write in them, take notes and underline passages. People buy books to keep as souvenirs, to remember events and holidays, and as gifts for loved ones. People buy books because they love to collect them, lend them to friends and fill their houses with them.
One response even went so far as to say, ‘I buy books that I want to own. There are books that I find so interesting and beautiful that I want them to be a part of my life.’
But people are not just buying books for themselves. A huge percentage of publishers and book sellers revenue comes from the Book Gift Market. The Book Gift Market makes a lot more sense when you start to look at when people buy books.
When do people buy books
In an article by Anthony Wessel titled, The Cycle of Book Sales he breaks down a few of the trends in book selling. It is interesting to see that for most of the year (approximately 46 weeks) booksellers sell the same amount of books. That means that week to week, and year after year, the same number of books are being sold.
When trying to sell your own book, you are not trying to persuade a buyer to purchase your book, but rather, you are trying to influence them to buy your book instead of another book.
The remaining 6 weeks of the year is the holiday season covering the lead up to christmas and into the new year (also thanks giving in the USA). During these six weeks, book sales increase.
‘What we can see from this is that marketing and promotion of a book does not increase the over all number of books sold that week, but only influences the buyers choice.’
Christmas period is the time that accounts for the gift market. The gift market is an area of sales that Ebooks and online readers just can not compete with. People do not give each other file downloads for christmas, they give real life printed books.
they give beautiful books, with inscriptions on the inside cover, they give inspirational books and cook books and coffee table books, and people have continued to do this through the online book selling storm and the rise of self publishing.
After looking at the top selling books for 2014, one thing is clear. Series’ Sells! More than half of the top selling books from 2014 where from a series.
12 of the Top 20 books sold online from Amazon and 11 of the Top 20 books sold in stores from the bookseller Barnes & Noble where from an established series of books. Four of the books made up the complete Divergent Series by Veronica Roth.
What is it about a series that compels people to keep going, to read the last book anyway when they didn’t really like the last one. to keep going.
Thinking of a series reminds me of the Bronze Horseman series. So many of my friends read the third book when none of us even like the second. Why? something enticing about the completed set, about knowing what happens, finishing, finalising everything.